Past Event

Recap: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Great Lakes Coastal Resiliency Study


May 10, 2024 10:30 a.m. –
11:30 a.m. CT

On May 10, the GLLC Task Force on Climate Resiliency were briefed by Michael Padilla, Senior Project Manager, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Chicago District, on the Great Lakes Coastal Resiliency Study. The study is a combined effort of the USACE and the eight Great Lakes states, and seeks to identify and provide guidance for shoreline areas susceptible to climate change. This study formally started in 2022a and is expected to be complete in 2028. The main objective is “… to protect the long-term economic, environmental, and social value of the Great Lakes coasts through proactive planning.”

As part of this effort, the USACE is conducting a vulnerability assessment of the entire U.S. Great Lakes coast to identify areas that could be significantly affected by flooding and erosion, based on climate change modeling predicting water levels and ice conditions. This basin-wide analysis will look at social vulnerability and environmental burdens, environmental and historic resources, population and infrastructure, and combined coastal resources. The analysis will be shared with the public as an interim step in 2025. The analysis will then progress to making recommendations for how to best protect vulnerable areas.

When asked about how the USACE work would coordinate with the Canadian portion of the Great Lakes coast, Padilla shared that discussions have taken place with the Government of Canada and there are plans to share the USACE’s finding with Canadian counterparts. Members also asked about the implications of this study for insurance companies, and while there may not be direct impacts, insurance companies could use the publicly available study data in their calculations.

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Following the presentation, the Task Force also heard an update from Dr. Sara Hughes, who will be developing a guide on flood resilience policies for decisionmakers across the basin. This project, which will operationalize her previous study, is being supported with funding from Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments (GLISA).

See the USACE slides.